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Perhaps I’ll remember 2020 as the year we worked on the backyard. Being outside with the flowers, plants, and the bees makes me happy.

Our family goal centered on spending more time outside. With this in mind, we decided on building a new patio and screen porch with the latter becoming my summer office.

The problem with doing something different is it involves change and in our case, moving three blooming rose bushes. Since I couldn’t predict when the workers would finish, I decided to use black bags for gardening, which I kept moving depending on the construction zone for the day.

Garden Bags

Rosemary and basil continue to grow, although the other herbs expired partly due to the season and the bags drying out despite daily watering.

One of the pluses of bag gardening is the ability to move the bags to a sunny location when needed or into the kitchen when a late frost hits. At the end of the season, just dump the soil into the compost bin and save the bag for next year. Sweet potatoes flourished in a larger green bag, but not so with the tomatoes. The round spherical fruit that is sometimes labeled a vegetable is a big deal in Indiana. There’s an unofficial race to have the first red tomato before July 4th.

Sweet potato vine

The round spherical fruit that is sometimes labeled a vegetable is a big deal in Indiana. There’s an unofficial race to have the first red tomato before July 4thIt wasn’t my intention to run a tomato experiment, but I did inadvertently. Several tomato plants flourished in the ground surrounded by chicken wire to discourage our nighttime shoppers. Three I grew among some Blue Lake green beans, another plant shot up in a large container, and a single yellow tomato plant simply existed in a black bag.  The best producers were the ground ones. As for my container tomato, it had tons of tomatoes, but never any ripe ones. I discovered the reason while typing one day within our newly completed screen porch. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched a chipmunk scamper up the side of the pot. Then, carefully balancing on the rim, he reached for a ripe pear tomato with its forepaws. What I wouldn’t give to have a snapshot of the moment.


Well, I learned something that day. Chipmunks like yellow pear tomatoes. Instead of getting upset, I had to smile. It did explain the mystery of the missing ripe tomatoes. But, no worries, I have plenty of tomatoes. In fact, if you’re in the neighborhood, I’d be glad to share my vegetable bounty.

If you’re worried about the roses, they’re back to blooming, again. My secret is banana peels and watering the plants every single day. A single banana peel, chopped, and buried near the rose roots provides enough potassium for the entire season.

coleus, marigolds, black-eyed Susan, mint

My successes include reviving the roses, a strong tomato harvest, and figuring out the mystery of the missing pear tomatoes. Tomato plants don’t do well in the black bags qualifies as my learning experience. Oddities would include my veggie-loving chipmunk and a red squirrel we refer to as Mr. McNutty, who knocks on my window whenever the birdfeeder is empty.

Happy harvest, friends.

About the Writer/Gardener:

M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries, The Talking Dog Detective Agency, which is set In Indianapolis, and The Way Over the Hill Gang series.  Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. Morgan’s daughter, who works at a hotel, has contributed a guest horror tale or two to fuel plot lines along with housekeeping details. Overall, the series are a family effort.

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On St. Nick’s Trail (99 cents and on Kindle Unlimited)

By Morgan Wyatt

Private Eye Nala Bonne and her trusty crime-fighting rescue dog Max spend their days surfing social media for telltale signs of disability fraud and philandering husbands, but when a lucrative opportunity to investigate something entirely different, Nala readily agrees to take the case.

The task: find a missing Santa impersonator

Unfortunately for her, someone is dead set against the search and will stop at nothing to drive Nala and Max out of town before their search even begins.

Can this dynamic duo locate the missing Santa before it’s too late?